MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – Donald Trump used his first campaign event since President Joe Biden officially entered the 2024 election race to portray their differences in stark and apocalyptic terms, arguing a Biden re-election would lead to “conflict” and “anarchy”.
Speaking to more than 1,000 supporters, many wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats, Trump sought to reframe the choice between the two men.
Mr Biden, a Democrat, launched his re-election campaign two days ago with a video promising to protect personal freedoms from “extremists” linked to the former Republican president.
“The choice in this election is now between strength or weakness, between success or failure, between safety or anarchy, between peace or conflict, and prosperity or catastrophe,” Trump said in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“With your vote on Nov 5, 2024, we are going to crush Mr Joe Biden.”
Trump’s remarks assume that both he and Mr Biden will win their party’s nominations.
Trump appeared to be consolidating his support in the race for the Republican nomination, and travels to New Hampshire in hope of capturing the early nominating state.
The former president had a sizeable national lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 49 per cent to 23 per cent, among self-identified Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted April 21 to 24.
Benefiting from a large field of candidates and tapping into the angst of working-class voters, Trump handily won New Hampshire’s primary in 2016 in a prelude to victories across the North-east and ultimately the Republican nomination.
In a mocking moment, Trump drew applause when he shuffled around the stage pretending he was struggling to find the exit, suggesting he may revive a theme from his 2020 campaign when he portrayed Mr Biden as elderly and lacking energy and acuity.
In February, the president’s personal physician, Dr Kevin O’Connor, issued Mr Biden a clean bill of health and said he was fit to continue his duties.
Mr Biden, 80, is the oldest person ever to serve as a United States president. Trump is 76. REUTERS